Part 3: “Leave everything behind” to follow your partner to the United States

WORKING IN THE US: A POSITIVE ANSWER, FINALLY!

Still developing small projects on my own and between a few applications, I decided to hand- deliver my resume to a few shops in the area. Luckily, a brand of French origin based in a very chic mall was looking for a part-time sales representative. The “shop manager” interviewed me on the spot and on the following week I did two more interviews with the brand’s “district manager” and then the “mall manager” to finally get the job. It wasn’t my business, but I was very happy with the “finally positive” news! The idea of a part-time job (up to 31 hours a week in California) was perfect for me to link my freelance activity and try to develop it. Moreover, knowing that the brand’s corporate team was going to move its offices from New York to Hollywood, I thought there would be potential opportunities in the medium term. Therefore, it is with great enthusiasm that I started this new adventure. At the end of my first month, the brand offered me a promotion with a full-time position still in sales with benefits that I of course accepted. The “benefits” (health insurance, pension plan…) are very valuable benefits in the US. That is, if your company does not offer them, health insurance, for example, is expensive (about $360/month for a basic contract subscription). It is unthinkable not to be covered, because in case of a problem, the bill is very expensive (that’s when you remember how lucky we are in France). After this rapid promotion, I continued to invest myself assiduously in my work. The pace was intense, I closed many times in the evenings and worked for two shops due to a lack of staff. The constant and consistent receipt of new goods in large quantities was physically challenging. The most difficult thing was to be on a different pace compare to my husband or friends (close until 9.15 pm, not to have weekends or just two consecutive days of rest). After 3 months of effort and ranked at the top of the West Coast sales associate rankings, I got a new promotion as assistant manager of two shops. I obviously seized the opportunity and continued until the end of my American adventure with this company. I never thought I’d do this type of job or imagine that this part time would have taken this turn so quickly, but I had an opportunity, I took it and I gave myself 100% until the end.

As a “French”, these successive promotions in “so little time are surprising and motivating”. If you invest yourself, if you have results, it is “possible” to evolve very quickly in the US, it is undeniable. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but this notion of “possibility”, “envy”, “hope”, “positivism”, “involvement” with “the company” seems clearly more present in the US than in France. The notion of entrepreneurship also, here many people dare to start and want to become independent. “The “general enthusiasm” for business creation is quite “crazy” and sincerely this last point is really appreciable.

CONCLUSION

As we approach a change of life following a refusal of our “green card”, I wanted through this article to share with you as honestly as possible these 2.5 years spent in Orange County in Southern California. I came to the US because I followed my partner’s now husband’s dream of living in that part of the world that was so important to him. Beyond a couple’s project, I made it a point of honor that I could also lead a personal and professional project in which I could invest myself and develop. Studies, internship searches, marriage, work permits, slaps, work, promotions, blogs, a new start for a trip around the world… I really hadn’t predicted so many developments in such a short time! Before I left, I had never thought I would find it so difficult to adapt to this new way of life, to learn English “correctly”, to find a job, to create a new circle of friends, to clearly leave my comfort zone. It was my first experience abroad where I didn’t know when I would return, where I had to potentially plan to stay for a little while. This aspect is very destabilizing, because unlike travel, you identify the negative points and you know that you will have to accept them, because you will not go home at the end of the holidays. No, your new home is elsewhere and you have to adapt! If you intend to leave and follow your partner to the US, know that not everything will be so easy. Unlike “real expatriates” and for having experienced it, the language barrier, starting from the first step and rebuilding your skills in the professional environment is not easy, but you have to hold on to it, believe in it and your efforts will eventually be rewarded in one way or another. As I said earlier, except if you have “technical” or “exceptional” skills, no one will be waiting for you. You have to be determined to make your place, work harder than others and be patient. I do not wish to discourage you, just to inform you. Not all French people who move to the United States live “The American Dream”, it’s a utopia. From a personal point of view, this American adventure has not always been easy, but I have the feeling that I have lived it 100% and that I have achieved the objectives I set myself. There were ups and downs, great challenges, discouragement, small victories, failures, encounters, frustration, misunderstanding, then joy again. A real emotional elevator. In any case, it is impossible to clearly describe all that this experience has brought me, but it was a hell of a POSITIVE TOUCH! No regrets, goodbye green card, a beautiful chapter ends waiting to write the next one while travelling the world.

My American Dream was to have shared this crazy experience with YOU (husband)! With YOU (friends)! Thank you and see you soon America!

Kathleen

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